Today I’m lonely for light brown rain clouds
layered like frango mint ice cream, a flavor
gone the way of downtown department stores—
boarded up or sold. Saturdays I rode the bus
through Industrial Seattle, pulled the bell-cord
at Frederick & Nelson’s, beelined
past perfume counters, ran down brass-railed
stairs, quick right into the Paul Bunyan Room,
spun in my own orbit on a metal stool
until a waitress wearing a black and white
maid dress, hairnet, pencil tucked behind her ear
wiped a rhapsody of handprints and perfect
circles of plates and cups, scribbled frango mint
milk shake on her pad. How I spun,
thrumming, kicking the leg of the stool—
a young John Glenn circling the Earth.
Heaven arrived in a metal container,
condensation sliding down the chalice like angel
blessings. In that first moment of pouring
and swallowing, I was the ice cream, the milk,
the frango, the body and bread of Christ and life
everlasting, Judgment Day, the place
where questions about angels were answered,
sugar traveling to invisible bouffants in my body.
I was every rivet of the metal, was sugar
melting ice, was Marilyn Monroe’s eyes.
Every vessel in my body whispered frango,
frango. On the wall Paul Bunyan ran
in brown and green earth tones. On the stool
I spooned chunks of heaven with my straw,
swallowed, toasted the first day of the universe.
“Frango” is reprinted from Jeopardy.
John Davis is the author of Gigs (Sol Books) and The Reservist (Pudding House Press.) His work has appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Crab Creek Review, Cream City Review, Cutbank, Iron Horse Literary Review, The North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Rio Grande Review, Sycamore Review, and many others. He lives on Bainbridge Island where he teaches high school and performs in rock and roll bands.